A bifactor approach to modeling the structure of the psychopathy checklist-revised

Christopher J. Patrick, Brian M. Hicks, Penny E. Nichol, Obert F. Krueger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


To date, models of the structure of psychopathy as assessed by the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R) have taken a higher-order approach in which the factors of the PCL-R are modeled as correlated elements of a higher-order psychopathy construct. Here, we propose an alternative structural model of the PCL-R, the bifactor model, which accounts for the covariance among PCL-R items in terms of a general factor reflecting the overlap across all items, and independent subfactors reflecting the unique coherency among particular groups of items. We present examples of how this alternative structural model can account for diverging associations between different subsets of PCL-R items and external criteria in the domains of personality and psychopathology, and we discuss implications of the bifactor model for future research on the conceptualization and assessment of psychopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-141
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of personality disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007


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